Cheryl Danley

Setting Down Roots in the Cereal Capital

A heartland story

Photos by Rita Kruk

In Battle Creek , MI, several hundred people are gathered to celebrate the grand opening of the Burma Center. Burmese women in the crowd are dressed in traditional floor-length wrap skirts, and men wear similar woven fabric draped and tied across one shoulder. Children run in and out while older women fry onion fritters to be set out alongside banana cakes, corn cakes, rice with peas and hot pepper sauce — all Burmese delicacies.

Online Exclusive: Recipe for Fried Samtok (African Eggplants) in Shrimp Paste

Read related story "Setting Down Roots in the Cereal Capital" in Hyphen Issue 25, available at a newsstand near you.

This delicious, uniquely flavored dish remains a favorite for thousands of Chin people from Burma living in the United States, conjuring up memories of home for the seasoned Samtok eater, according to Martha Thawnghmung of the Burma Cultural Center of Battle Creek, Michigan.